Thrash metal is a little bit of a sensitive subject around here, and if you’ve stopped by this stupid site with any regularity, you’ll notice we don’t touch a lot of it. There’s some bias behind that decision, if we’re being honest. I grew up worshipping at the altar of thrash, and my formative years and my ultimate path toward heavier sounds came directly from this sub-genre.
So, getting a record from a newer thrash band doesn’t really make my excitement level go up because I’ve heard so much stuff that, to me, just doesn’t measure up to what was created by the sound’s progenitors (whereas death, black metal, doom all have had successful movements beyond the roots). One thing that made me dig into Rabid Beast’s five-song debut EP is because it’s being offered up by Unspeakable Axe, a label I trust to mine the good stuff, and sure enough that’s exactly what this is. What the band—vocalist Paul Gillis, multi-instrumentalist Eric Bauer—conjure is something that sounds like it has dined generously as thrash’s table in its glory days but also has a modern touch that isn’t distracting or trying to recreate an already ideal wheel. Also, it’s fun as fuck and will destroy your inhibitions for a good 23 minutes.
“Decline Into Disorder” opens with a meaty assault as Gillis’ yelps, which feel like a classic thrash assault, begin to crush bones. The chorus is cool as hell as the pace chugs along, the vocals get even nastier, and the guitars seem to liquify before the track blasts shut. “Existential Maelstrom” is a smashing serving of thrash with the vocals gnashing and attitude smeared like mud to one’s mouth. The chorus is simple but effective while air is infused in the clobbering guitar work, and then the pace switches. Punches are thrown from an entirely different direction as the leads blaze away, and the track comes to a devastating end. “First Among Equals” ignites as shrieks go off, guitars shred, and the playing turns into a total assault. It has corners that are utterly relentless as crazed wails land blows, bones are turned into school glue, and the end slams shut. “Green Room Is Red” delivers strong riffs as Gillis’ howls hammer through while the bass rallies. Growls rip in as classic thrash metal floods generously, bringing with it power and grit as well as searing soloing. The riffs then ramp back up as the vocals carve you, and the track then explodes for a final burst. “Overlord” (an Infernal Majesty cover) ends the EP with guitars exploding from the gates and speed ruling as the forceful vocals stun. The playing is fast and mean with the leads going for broke, the bass piling up, and the soloing spreading insanity. The display is dizzying as the track reignites, double-kick thunder strikes, and the final moments melt into echo.
Rabid Beast manage what a lot of bands before them have failed to do: actually capture the true essence of thrash metal and provide their own interpretation. This doesn’t try to be some brand-new take nor does it add any technical bells and whistles, and that’s a major positive for this self-titled first EP. This band holds a lot of promise, and I’m really excited to hear where they go from here.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Rabid-Beast-107634810842079/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/purchase/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=66&products_id=601
For more on the label, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/